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GP training through Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program offers junior doctors educational, training and pastoral support as they train to become General Practitioners. In 2019, a specific AGPT Rural Generalist Policy relating to rural generalist trainees was introduced, which allows for additional program flexibility regarding training time, transfers and skills training. Rural generalist trainees who are on the AGPT pathway have a higher chance of passing the fellowship exams.
Discover more about how Rural Generalists benefit from GP training through AGPT
The AGPT program
On average, rural generalist GP registrars take 4.6 years to complete the requirements of the AGPT program (including the college exams).
The key components of the program are:
- One year of hospital training time in core specialities (post PGY1).
- Two years in a community setting doing a combination of general practice including in patient and acute care.
- One year of Advanced Specialised Training (AST) or Advanced Rural Skills training (ARST) in a specialist discipline such as obstetrics or mental health. Find out more about JCUGP’s Advanced Skills Training opportunities.
- One optional year to further skills training in hospital. This can either be a second AST/ARST or can be a combination of further skills such as a critical care year, or a combination of PHO placements in, for example, paediatrics and psychiatry.
- An additional 12 months is available for registrars to complete their assessments.
Junior doctors who are Queensland Rural Generalist Pathway (QRGP) trainees apply to the AGPT program the same way as other applicants, however if they want access to the AGPT Rural Generalist Policy they must opt-in by ticking the 'rural generalist’ box on their AGPT applications.
Junior doctors interested in being rural generalists but who are not part of the Queensland Rural Generalist Pathway can still apply to train as a rural generalist on the AGPT program. Again, they must opt-in by ticking the ‘rural generalist’ box on their AGPT application.
Junior doctors wanting to train as AGPT rural generalists can train via the ACRRM or RACGP Rural Pathway + FARGP pathways, or both.
Registrars typically secure their own hospital placements through Queensland Health. James Cook University's (JCU) GP training program and the QRGP team assist registrars in identifying suitable AST/ARST posts. A vacancy list is advertised by JCU and QRGP in the first half of each year.
The Rural Doctors Association Queensland’s Annual Conference also offers an excellent opportunity for Rural Generalist registrars to network and learn about suitable training opportunities that exist in rural and remote areas.
JCU helps registrars identify suitable posts for the community component of their training. There are a variety of posts available with different approaches to employment. For example, some training locations offer two contracts which run simultaneously with the registrars working in private general practice as well as in the local hospital. Other locations offer registrars provisional SMO or Medical Officer with a right to Private Practice (MOPP/MORPP) positions.